New legislation giving dogs more protection in Delaware

DELAWARE – A law signed in Delaware limits the amount of time a dog can be tethered outside. Animal advocates from the Brandywine Valley SPCA say they worked alongside lawmakers to get it passed. Many locals ABC 47 spoke with say they’re in favor of these changes. “In extreme temperatures it’s just cruel for any dog. I think we have to think of safety for sure, for a dog, and that is absolutely the owner’s responsibility,” said dog owner April Reid.

Georgetown SPCA community engagement coordinator Carla DiGiacomo says dogs left outside for long periods of time are at risk. “Leaving a dog tethered outside can be very stressful for a dog, you know, not just physically but emotionally as well,” she said.

Senate bill 139 says that if dog owners choose to tether their dogs outside, it can’t be for any longer than nine hours while the owner is home, and two hours if the dog is home alone. Animal advocates say dogs left out any longer than that need protection from the outside elements. “It’s just important to remember that these are living beings, so to keep them tethered outdoors and especially in extreme weather conditions is cruel,” said DiGiacomo.

The law also prohibits dog owners from letting their dogs off leash in public, except for at dog parks. Dog owner Charlie Koskey says he thinks it’s a smart precaution to take. “Maybe people aren’t as familiar with certain traits of a breed, and I think it’s probably helpful for the dogs and the public at large,” said Koskey.

The new law also includes requirements for outdoor housing for dogs. Dog owners must make sure that outdoor shelters are warm, and that the dogs have plenty of food and water. The SPCA says the bill was about two years in the making because lawmakers had to take many different perspectives and situations into account.

Other dog owners say they’re glad the government is taking steps to protect animals, but say the time periods mentioned in the bill are still too long. Animal experts say that if you think you’ve seen a dog that’s been tethered outside for too long then you can contact the office of animal welfare to report it.



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